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APN raises $172m from entitlement offer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016 Jonathan Underhill

APN News & Media has raised $A160 million ($NZ172.88m) from the institutional component of its entitlement offer, with an uptake of 95 per cent and the shortfall hoovered up at a premium.

The Sydney-based owner of NZME, whose media assets include the NZ Herald, Newstalk ZB and GrabOne website, aims to raise a total of $A180m ($NZ194.49m) in its underwritten one-for-three renounceable entitlement offer at 53 Australian cents a share.

It will use the funds to repay some of its debt and, if it proceeds with the demerger of NZME, use some of the money to set up APN and NZME with appropriate stand-alone capital structures.

The remaining $A20m ($NZ21.61m) of the offer is aimed at retail investors and opens on May 18, although trading of the retail entitlements begins on the ASX on Friday on a deferred basis.

For the institutional portion, the shortfall was taken up by existing APN shareholders and others at 65 Australian cents a share, a 23 per cent premium to offer prices.

The shares last traded at 63 cents before being halted for the capital raising and had dropped 33 per cent in the past 12 months.

APN is in talks with Fairfax media about a potential merger of NZME with Fairfax's New Zealand assets to create "a leading New Zealand media business, offering depth of news, sport and entertainment coverage across a diverse mix of channels including print, digital and radio," the two companies said this week.

Analysts have 'buy' ratings on both companies and say exiting their New Zealand assets would allow them to better participate in consolidation of the Australian media sector, where media ownership laws are expected to be relaxed next year.

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